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|Address||Rt. 61 South/1900 Centre Ave.|
Reading, PA 19601
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Reading Phillies - User Comments Add your own
Very Nice stadium -- 2006-05-09
If you are a fan of minor league baseball, First Energy Stadium is defently a place you want to go to for a ball game.
Fans here love their R-Phils, so there is defently no lack of enthuasiasm from the fans. Also has been renovated a bit to be more like a modern day minor league park (without the luxury boxes). Most everything in the park is affordable ($9.50 for the blue seats, $7.50 for the yellow seats, $5.50 for the red seats and GA), and the ushers are very nice (despite me wearing my Harrisburg Senators jersey) on an early April weekday game, the one usher allowed me to move down to the first row. There is even a pool at the stadium (though you got to have a group scheduled in order to use it). Quite easily accessable too as its pretty much right off the highway.
The only real noticable cons with the stadium is that there isnt much activities around the stadium (like City Island has, with Mini Golf, Arcades, Batting Cages, etc.), but dont worry, if you come early, its not like the stadium sits in an area like Shea Stadium in New York does, there is a convience store and a restarunt nearby if you want to get a bite to eat before the game. Also, the prime parking spaces you want is anywhere where a foul ball wont land (very few spots) or underneath a tree in the parking lot (to at least slow the ball down), otherwise, hope the ball doesnt make you pay for a new windshield or body work.
Overall, the pros in this stadium far outweigh the cons. I try to go to at least 1 R-Phils game a year.
Reading #2 -- 2005-05-25
After 122 games and 40+ stadiums we rated Reading #2 in our overall rating
Based on our experiences in 2004 The basic rules we have are fairly simple.
Keep ticket prices low Ample free parking Charge a fair price for food. Keep quality high. Keep it fun. Promotions donít have to be expensive Have a place where the kids can have fun A good staff is priceless Listen to/respect the fans Keep the stadium and bathrooms clean
Our ďBestĒ List
Best Stadium Lowell Best Hot Dog Reading Best Food Value Reading Best On Field MC I.M. Fun at Frederick Most Fun Promotion tie between the Kids Pillowfighting at Jamestown and Pooper Scooper race at NJ Best Mascot Sherman the Shorebird Friendliest Stadium Lowell Best for Kids Reading Best Food Item BBQ Nachos at Memphis
Overall Rating: A
We are early and just chill in the parking lot. The lines are already long and it is strange to see people wearing in jackets in August. There is coolness in the air and it will get chilly tonight.
The red brick exterior and walls belie the age of this stadium, it has become a focal point for the Reading community. While the local paper talks about the ending of commuter flights at the local airport and hints at a continuing decline for the area this operation remains a viable vibrant part of the community.
They have gates here for groups, VIP/season ticket holders and E Ticket holders. You can print your tickets out on line and get into your own faster line. The large crowds in the main lines merge together until they finally sort out to enter the building.
The small souvenir store is to the right as you enter the main gate. Next to it is a stand where you can purchase hats or clothing items and even have it customized for a small price. The store is adequate although I don't understand why they don't offer specialized items that some fans may desire like player signed items.
The main concourse is under the seating bowl. This is an older ballpark and conditions are cramped. The good news is that the bathrooms while small are very clean, thanks! The clubhouses are located on the inner part of the walkway down where the closed concourse ends. This forces the players to walk across the hallway onto the field. Because autograph collectors hang out in this area when players are entering or exiting the field passage is almost impossible. The team should consider making it a no autograph zone and designate some area, maybe around the field for autographs. I am sure the players wouldn't mind and it would help everyone out.
Down on the first base line behind the bleachers is a small courtyard with shade trees and tables. We enjoy sitting out here before a game. They have concession stands and the Harley Davidson Cafe. Picnic areas and the kids area are past here too. The team is making use of the available space here and should be complemented for their efforts. The fans benefit greatly from this.
Karen has the jumbo dog; Tim and I have the burger. We eat and people watch.
The food is very very good and offered at reasonable prices making for one of the best values in the minors. Karen rated the chilidog a 7.5 (best this year) and our nephew Tim gave it a 9 (best he has ever had is his quote).
You look around at some of the stadiums we have been to and pizza is popular because it is hard to ruin. Here the hot dogs, burgers, fires and chicken fingers are top quality. We heard one couple talk about the fries, marveling that they were hot. Usually the little things are what matters.
Our seats are in Red 1, located at the top end of the first base side of the grandstand-seating bowl. The view of right is slightly blocked but we have a good view of the parking lot (foul ball city)
The grandstand, bleachers and group areas in right and down the line in left for make a fragmenting seating arrangement. But the view is so different from the older grandstand to the new video board or pool in right. It all works together to make for a unique view. The only problem is the passageways can be crowded so give yourself plenty of time.
My knees ache after the walk up. The steps are concrete and make for a hard climb. The fans here follow the team. You don't see the cell phones or lack of interest. Since it is a double hearer the start time has been moved up and the stadium is slowly filling up. Most people will be gone before the start of the fireworks display. Imagine they came for the game.
The ballpark has some age and seating is not the best but the staff is top notch.
This season the new video board in left is the star of the show.
The picture is excellent. The sounds quality is god but we got blasted in our seats. The volume was way too high.
Field activities are limited to the bungee tug of war, the rubber man being taken out by the umpire and one I liked, the intern cheerleaders, funny and entertaining in a campy sort of way.
The organization spent a lot of money on the scoreboard and like the fan said behind us they need to use it. The problem as I see it is that the video board takes away the originality and on field fun that we have enjoyed in the past while imparting certain staleness to the overall package. How many times do you see the video cam or listen to the same video bites before you don't really care anymore?
How many fans will go home and say, 'They had pictures of people making faces on the video board.' The reaction used to be, 'Wow, I can't believe they did...' The technology is nice and can augment and add a new dimension to making the game fun. Hopefully the team will cut back its reliance on the video board and return to what they do best.
There is an out of town message board to the left of the video board. It is used for major league and some minor league scores. Great idea! The Orioles are hot right now and Karen is pleased.
On a down note, hopefully the team can come up with a way to improve the condition of the seats. New ones are clearly needed.
Check the schedule, they have great promotions here.
The total package is tough to beat. This really is Baseball Twon!
Prices are reasonable, just get tickets early, they sell fast. Ticket prices are very affordable. The top ticket price is $9 for Blue Box seats, General Admission go for $5.50 and other seats can be purchased for $7 or $6.50. The $7 seats offer a good view of the park.
The food is great and cheap.
Odds and Ends
Like Hagerstown fans sit on the top row of seats on the first base line to watch cars get hit by foul balls. Foul balls fly all around us. One hits out in the parking lot just three feet in front of a passing vehicle. In the 8th my nephew Tim has his chance at a one that changes direction at the last moment. He is unable to get his hand out of the jacket in time and it bounces off his left hand. No foul ball and a tender hand to show for it.
After the game the fireworks are nice but Karen thinks they should add more blue to the display.
We walk down to the courtyard and catch the Mascot band making their traditional Saturday night performance. Most of the crowd here stays for the freebies then departs. We stay and enjoy the last couple of songs. A couple doing some dirty dancing catches Tim's eye and he points them out to me. The attempt at Purple Rain to end the show is one that won't be forgotten.
R-Phils know how to do things right! -- 2005-04-18
After a few years of saying "I gotta see a Reading Phils game!", I finally made the 100 mile trek from NJ and I'm glad I did!
The R-Phils, like the Trenton Thunder & Lakewood Blueclaws here in NJ, know how to do things right. Nice atmosphere for adults & kids, with good consessions & promotions. GPU Stadium is an ordinary, older stadium made impressive by the constant improvements to the ballpark.
Minor note: If buying box seats, the higher box seats on the first baseline can have the view of the right field corner can be obstructed by the the 1st base line bleachers.
Now if I can only remember to say "Redding" instead of "Reading"!
Fans Acessability to the players -- 2005-03-23
Its great here at First Energy Stadium. You can stand in front of the locker room pre and after game and get free unlimited autographs. I got Phillies top prospects Gavin Floyd and Ryan Howard's autograph's. Not to menchion former Reading Phillies and current Philadelphia Phillies Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, and Atlanta Brave Johnny Estrada autographs. Reading has produced some very talented ballplayers. I reccomend you go and check out a game its fan friendly and very cheap. they even have a pool in right feild!
2003 Stadium Review -- 2003-09-14
Ticket prices are very affordable. The top ticket price is $9 for Blue Box seats, General Admission go for $5.50 and other seats can be purchased for $7 or $6.50. The $7 seats offer a good view of the park.
Food is wonderful; Karen rated the hot dog as an eight Ė the top rating of the year and she is a tough rater. Her favorite remains the Thunder Dog in Trenton. This place is a must visit. Imagine, here you can walk up to a concession stand and have a great hot dog and the price is right - $2. On the long drive home from a night game at Harrisburg Karen tells me, why canít everyone sell a great hot dog for just a buck or two?
The staff is friendly and works hard. The entertainment never ends.
Reading continues to be one of the more inventive operations. The on field promotions here combine originality with fun.
The best on field promotion this year was the bungee tug of war. Two contestants standing back to back are attached by a bungee cord. The object is to race to some balls and then race further on to try to place the balls, one at a time into a bucket. All this while the other contestant is trying to achieve the same task. The result is amazing.
Another treat here was the foam cube race. Two contestants take their places on the field, one on the first base line the other person on the third base side. The foam cubes start from the top of the stands and are thrown or tossed down to the field. First cube on the field wins. It is great fun and gets the crowd involved.
Hot dogs and t-shirts fired into the crowd are always fun, so too are the "Let's Make a Deal" contests. Hagerstown ran a contest where fans stepped onto the dugout and were asked to participate in a spelling contest. The results could be humiliating. The toss from the roof at Hagerstown, conducted last year, where a contestant tried to catch a ball tossed from the press box was fun to watch.
Rather then follow a set routine some organizations should try to mix up their on field promotions to keep them fresh. At Reading the classic Summo wrestling gave way to Summo Olympics a nice variation on a popular event.
At Bowie my wife enjoyed Copeland's Crawfish toss. A young fan is equipped with a net and tries to catch plastic crawfish that are launched to him. It was fun until they moved the kid right next to the Baysox dugout limiting the amount of room available to catch the crayfish.
Out west tug of wars are popular, pitting competing groups against each other. We also enjoy watching the kidís race the mascot around the bases. In fact most events with kids are usually bound to please.
At Hagerstown the bubble gum contest can be fun. We were sorry that Michael T was not brought back to Hagerstown. He was a joy to watch, wearing his Suns uniform, working the crowd and performing his magic tricks.
A good mascot can be worth a lot. Reading has an ensemble cast of characters. Others like Rocky and Tedd E are just lovable. Perhaps the most active was the one in Lynchburg who ran down the aisle and somersaulted into the field. A few years ago the Hagerstown mascot, Woolie B, was terrific with routines on his broken down bike or antics in the crowd to keep the crowd on edge but unfortunately someone else now inhabits Woolie B.
A lot of free parking. Be careful, like some ballparks if you park too close to the stadium you may end up with an unwanted souvenir baseball. Park down past the stadium. The seating area needs some work. The bathrooms are old and need some rehab and a new kidís area and souvenir stand would be a plus.
Odds and Ends
They have turned a baseball game into an event. This is one of the best operations in the minors, if not the best. It is the little things that catch your eye. The usher in our section on the first base line worked hard to keep people moving along the walkway and avoided having people stand in front of the other fans. No tips but his efforts were appreciated. They flash the scoring on each play (I loved that) along with MLB, IL and Eastern League updates.
A word of advice the crowds here arrive early. Some line up hours before the gates open. On the Sunday we went the line was a long one and we still had 30 minutes before the gates opened. Four of the five mascots were playing in a rock and roll band for the crowd. Parents kept bringing their kids up to watch and listen. We debated if they really were playing music; Karen said maybe not I said maybe.
They have a small train that runs kids around the field on Sundayís before the game. They also have balloons and face painting. The entertainment is constant and appreciated. Major group areas are behind the right and left field fences. They even have a swimming pool in right. The food court comes with a Harley Davidson cafť. A kidís area is located just past the food court behind first base. Each year the organization tries to improve the operation.
If you want to see what a minor league game is all about come here.
Karen and Kevin Flynn
I have been to over 50 minor league ball parks in the last 8 years. This is the best I have seen - seats, character, fans, food, parking -- everything.
A Blast -- 2001-12-26
Every year, I take a weekend trip to go to baseball games outside of my home area. Normally, I would try not to go to parks I've already been to. However, for Reading, I'd make an exception. The park appears to have been refurbished and looks great. The park was packed and everyone had a blast. I was sitting in GA down the right field line and enjoyed every minute. The directions to the stadium are trickier to read than to follow and parking is plentiful, although the lots aren't the most car-friendly. And, I was able to get back to my motel in time to watch the post-game fireworks display from the parking lot. I may not make a special effort to get back to Reading (I live in Virginia) but I won't avoid it.
Best of 'em all -- 2001-10-11
Absolutely the best place to watch a baseball game in America--cheap, excellent concessions, freindly staff, unbelievable sight lines, beautiful park, large crowds for AA, usually very competitive teams. One trip to Reading worth as much as ten to Philly...
Seats and Concessions -- 2001-08-20
GPU's got great concessions, usually cheap, too. Also, every seat has a great view of the action with easy access to one concessions area or another. The scoreboard is perfect and complements the field. Their mascots do a great job as well. Finally, the fans are loyal, knowledgable, and make the place sound like a higher-level park!